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DuPage County divorce attorney

If you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce, you have made it past the first hurdle in the process. Coming to the realization that divorce is best for you and your spouse is no easy task and it can often take months, or even years, of self-realization and difficult conversations with each other. Deciding to file for divorce creates a new relationship dynamic that you have likely never experienced. If you and your spouse have children, there are additional issues that need resolving, which can also further complicate matters. When looking ahead to the future, you may be on your own for the first time in years, including making crucial decisions regarding who will represent you throughout the legal process.

 

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Elmhurst, IL divorce discovery process lawyerEvery couple has an argument every now and again. Maybe you did not put the dishes away like you said you were going to do, or maybe your spouse forgot to pack the kids’ lunches like they were supposed to. Little things like that can pop up from time to time, but when those little problems keep coming up more often and lead to bigger and bigger fights, it may be time to consider ending the marriage. Reactions to the idea of a divorce can vary depending on the person, but you should have a pretty good grasp of the kind of personality your spouse has and how they are likely to react. 

For some people who have been in troubled or unhappy marriages, getting a divorce can seem like a breath of fresh air. However, that is not to say that those getting a divorce have it easy. In many cases, these couples end up going through difficult, contested divorces that can put them at the mercy of the court system and each other. Any divorce can become complicated fairly easily, which is why hiring a professional is nearly always recommended. If you are dealing with a contested divorce, enlisting the help of an Illinois divorce lawyer who has experience dealing with contested and complex divorce cases could benefit you greatly.

Leading Up to the Discovery Process

In today’s world, the default for most divorce cases is to utilize some form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or collaborative law to complete the divorce, rather than litigating the case in the courtroom. Most of the time, litigated divorces are only used when there are special circumstances involved that would make another method inappropriate, such as if domestic violence was present in the household.

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Divorce can be complicated, especially when you are dealing with a high net worth and a spouse who has attempted to hide assets. Though it is difficult to keep financial secrets from your spouse these days, it does not stop people from trying. According to a report by CreditCards.com, nearly 15 million adults have a credit card or bank account that their live-in partner does not know about. Though it can be tempting to hide assets from one’s spouse during a divorce, it is not a good idea - in fact, it is illegal. If you think your spouse may be concealing financial resources during your divorce, here are five ways you can begin looking for hidden assets:

1. Look at Tax Returns

The first place you should begin looking for hidden assets is in your taxes. Income tax returns from at last the past five years are a good place to start. Look at where income has been coming from, whether that be your spouse’s job, interest, dividends, or capital gains or losses. If something seems off on the tax return, talk to your attorney about it.

2. Check Bank Statements

Another place to look could be bank or credit card statements. When examining these statements, you should look for any large transfers or withdrawals, especially patterns such as regular transfers or withdrawals of small amounts of money. Look for any payments made to family members or friends or custodial accounts for children. Also, look for any ATM withdrawals and note the amounts withdrawn - are these normal spending habits, or could they be an indication that your spouse is withdrawing and concealing marital funds?

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Skokie divorce property division lawyerWhen considering marital assets that get divided during a divorce, most people think of houses, cars, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. However, there are actually many more assets that divorcing couples may have to figure out how to divide. Sometimes, these odd assets can be forgotten about when couples focus on more obvious and expensive assets, but taking care of the division of these assets early on can save a headache in the future.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

The first step in dividing any assets in a marriage is determining which assets can actually be divided. Anything deemed marital property is subject to division; anything deemed non-marital property is not. In the state of Illinois, the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act dictates what is marital and non-marital property. Marital property is defined as any property, including debts or other obligations, that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage--anything else is non-marital property.

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Lincolnwood collaborative law attorneyCollaborative divorce has been around since the 1980s, and it has been practiced in Illinois since 2002. The Collaborative Process Act went into effect at the beginning of 2018, officially recognizing collaborative divorce as an option to couples who want to legally separate. The act breaks down guidelines for couples to follow when they decide to pursue the collaborative divorce model, such as signing a collaborative contract and retaining certified collaborative divorce attorneys.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

The collaborative divorce process begins when the couple and their collaborative divorce attorneys sign a legally binding contract to agree to resolve their marital disputes outside of the courtroom. The point of collaborative divorce is to avoid litigation and keep control over assets, property, child custody agreements, spousal maintenance, or any other issue that may arise during the divorce process.

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